New York pedestrian accidents pose danger as students return to school

As school starts for another year, the New York State Department of Transportation issued a public service announcement. It cautioned motorists to pay closer attention as more children walk or bike to school. Already one New York motor vehicle accident has injured several students on their walk to school.

In the recent accident, a driver of a Honda sport-utility vehicle jumped a curb and ran into five students walking on the sidewalk. The driver explained that he was trying to hit the brake while parking, but accidentally hit the gas instead. Three of the children suffered serious injuries.

To address the rising number of pedestrian accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced available grants and a new informational website. The most recent agency statistics from 2011 noted an eight percent increase in the number of pedestrian deaths from 2009. In 2011, there were more than 4,000 pedestrian deaths.

Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for school-aged children. Knowing when and how accidents occur can increase awareness, and help parents educate their children.

When do accidents involving children happen?

It is not surprising that children are most often involved in pedestrian-vehicle accidents between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. These times correlate with walking to and from school. Adults, on the other hand, are more likely to be involved in this type of accident in the early evening.

What are the most common types of accidents?

Children are more often struck crossing mid-block or while crossing against a traffic light. Parents need to stress to their children the importance of crossing at intersections with a walk signal. A federal program called Safe Routes to School teaches children about safety, but also suggests safety improvements. Adding signage, repainting a sidewalk or putting in speed bumps to decrease speed all make a difference.

Even if a student is crossing in the middle of the block, driver negligence may still be the cause of a pedestrian versus car accident. Driving above the speed limit, texting or putting a new address into a GPS may result in driver distraction.

Motorists must reduce their speed in areas where there are children. Speeding increases the severity of injury and risk of death. The survival rate is much greater for a pedestrian in an accident when a car is driving slower.

When a loved one suffers a serious injury in a pedestrian accident, the first considerations are prognosis and recovery. The cause of the accident and paying for costs are secondary. An experienced personal injury attorney can help. From uncovering whether another person was negligent to dealing with the insurance company, an attorney works to make sure you receive a fair settlement.